Many family businesses are small startups that are built from the ground up. It takes an army — or in this case, a strong support system in the form of your family — to grow a small company. If you’re lucky, your family just might be your next business partner. This is true for sisters Cassie and Jacklyn Colliers. They had no idea that one of their favorite hobbies as a family would become their next successful family business.
Keeping Up With the Colliers
Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, both Cassie and Jackie grew up in an athletic family. The former got her competitive spirit from their younger brother who would turn everything into a game between them. From calling shotgun during road trips or bike racing in the backyard, Cassie always had the tenacity to want to win.
She serves as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small dairy town in Nicaragua. By then, she was already teaching entrepreneurship courses to small business owners in the town. She also spent some time with the local kids where she brushed up on her board game skills, probably prompting her to create a business out of it, whether by fate or by chance.
Jacklyn, or Jackie as her family and friends know her, grew up in an athletic family but she admittedly couldn’t keep up. She had the drive, the passion, and the energy but couldn’t make it past the starting lineup of the local basketball team her parents coached. She still wanted to pursue something so her folks encouraged her to channel her creative energy into something she finds interesting.
Thus, she found her talent in acting. Some time after she pursued her passion in acting, Jackie taught and acted in various parts of the country. Her television appearances include HBO’s The Deuce and numerous Investigation Discovery shows.
Bundle of Joy
The Collier family loves their game nights. Coming from an athletic family, this comes as no surprise to the people who know them. They come up with ingenious games to beat one another at and even make up their own rules as they play. On one particular holiday in 2017, the sisters ran out of ideas for unique gifts to give to their parents. Little did they know that from this little endeavor would stem their next business venture.
After an evening of laughing and bonding in their living room, a lightbulb moment happened between Cassie and Jackie. Their families loved board games, so why not customize their own game and rules and give it to their parents as a special holiday gift? They then filled the board game with personal tidbits, family traditions, and memories. Soon after, they realized they could scale this idea and turn into a family business.
Thus, Bundle was created shortly after. Out of something personal, the sisters were able to share this idea to others who equally loved board games with their families and friends. Bundle was born with the idea of immortalizing special moments between loved ones while spending quality time and having fun together.
The Bundle Belief
Cassie and Jackie say they live by their grandmother’s motto, “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Having enjoyed playing board games their entire lives, creating Bundle was not just a means to start a family business, but to pursue a passion as well. While the startup company has had relatively great success in recent years, they also had their setbacks during the pandemic.
Cassie Collier said that the pandemic forced many businesses to become at their most flexible in terms of services and experiences. Board games are traditionally played face-to-face so the social distancing protocols affected their product sales. Two years into the pandemic, the rules of social engagement are still gradually changing and the sisters agree that Bundle has a lot of keeping up to do.
The company is embracing the technological progress brought upon by the pandemic while trying to preserve the personal face-to-face value of playing board games. It is a delicate line to navigate but they do their best not just to get by but to thrive as much as they can. They keep coming back to the basics of when they started Bundle: How do people have fun, even during unforeseen circumstances? So they try to come up with ways to innovate their products and services that would fit how the world works right now.
NXTGEN NEXUS – FAMILY BUSINESS Q&A
Did you ever think about going into business together prior to Bundle?
Jacklyn: I never thought about going into business at all before Bundle! I love being an actor and it is something that I will never stop doing. Making board games was initially a fun hobby for me and Cassie, and when more people started to become interested in playing Bundle, we decided to turn it into a business.
Cassie: And I was the opposite! I was always scribbling business ideas on the back of napkins, but nothing ever felt exactly right until Bundle. Also, I knew I always wanted to start a business with someone, instead of starting a business solo. The stars aligned with Jackie as my co-founder and Bundle as our business!
Describe your role and your partners’ role in the business. Are your business roles the same as your non-business roles?
Jacklyn: Cassie is the CEO of the company and I am the COO. In every decision in the company, we discuss things with each other and make joint decisions, but Cassie has final decision making power. This was something that was very important to me. We initially discussed being Co-CEOs, but I am more comfortable being a follower under Cassie’s leadership in our business. (This might seem sort of ironic because she is my little sister!) Our skill sets are similar in some ways – we are both creative, hard workers, and create the content for our games. Cassie handled applying for our LLC, finding our manufacturer, and doing our taxes. She also organizes our schedule for the week and makes sure we are accomplishing our tasks in a timely manner. I write our blog and manage our social media. We both use our networks to develop strategic partnerships and host events.
As far as our non-business roles I would say that we are both great at being support systems for each other and just having a lot of fun. We have the same sense of humor. I don’t think either of us is overly bossy or too involved in each other’s decision making! (But maybe Cassie think differently!)
Cassie: I echo everything Jacklyn said, she’s spot on! We are so lucky to have very different skillsets in many ways, but still share the same mission and values. If we do differ on viewpoints, it’s usually about how we do something – not why we’re doing something. And to me, being aligned on the why is way more important – the rest is just details!
Were you concerned about going into business with your sister? (I really like the sharing the bedroom story)
Jacklyn: I didn’t really have any concerns, but that is pretty typical of my personality. I tend to trust my intuition in these types of situations. As an actor, I’m very used to a lack of stability, rejection, and working with different types of people in a variety if circumstances. Cassie has been my best friend since I was 16 months old and we shared a bedroom growing up so if we could survive the angst filled teenage years without tearing each other apart, I think we can survive anything.
Cassie: I tend to like all my ducks in a row before starting something, so it was a bit scary to jump into foreign territory and not having everything figured out. I mean, we launched a board game business without even having a board game manufacturer lined up! But as an entrepreneur, that’s what it’s all about – figuring out things just one step (or even a half step) ahead of time.
What advice do you have for sisters who decide to go into business together?
Jacklyn: Make sure you are passionate about your business and that you love what you do. Always make sure to carve out time to just be sisters instead of business partners. If you have a disagreement about something, confide in someone you trust who is not a member of your family. Most importantly, have fun and cherish your time together.
Cassie: Make your identity as sisters central to your story & your business. Remember to tap into your “why.” Be kind to each other, even when you disagree. Enjoy the ride!